In 1996, Bill Gates penned an opinion that proclaimed, “content is king.” As prescient as Gates proved to be in the world of tech, even he couldn’t have forseen the entertainment gap left in the wake of a global pandemic. Without theaters, without the stage, without a means to go and see whatever it is that brings us entertainment and joy, we were left to our own devices. And laptops. And televisions. Those who could produce content maintained–or even grew–their audiences. Those who didn’t may not be around when the New Normal returns.
Anthony M. Laura, of Face to Face Films, wasted no time, spinning his growing theater production company into a virtual wonderland of entertainment, aptly named Theater, Interrupted. Now, with more than a year’s worth of productions available on their YouTube channel for audiences to watch any time they wish, Laura is turning his attention to the future. To what his company will be when Covid-19 is no longer an impediment.
In addition to an eventual return to the stage, Face to Face Films is brewing even more content, by way of sneak peeks of future web series. The first, Sensing Astrid, premiered in April. On the heels of that, comes Everything Counts, a mind-twisting journey into the disappearance of a young woman who may, or may not, exist.
Starring Dan Kelly as Campbell Leonard, a young man suffering from germaphobia and OCD, the sneak peek of Everything Counts covers four brief scenes, giving the viewer a taste of Campbell’s challenges to come. Opening with a visit with his therapist, we’re introduced into Campbell’s world, his personal struggles, and his obsession with a girl from high school–Emerald Mason–who would greet him in the hallway. That obsession is elevated by the inability of his friends to recall the existence of any such schoolmate, driving Campbell to hire the services of Detective Breyer, a private investigator played by Prentice Myles, in the hope the truth about Emerald’s existence can be uncovered.
Kristen Seavey, as Campbell’s friend Amelia, offers more resistance to his insistence Emerald is out there, hammering home the desperation that has possessed him. “What’s your endgame here?” she asks, to no reply. “You find her and she thinks you’re a stalker.” Liana Womble rounds out the cast as Fiona, a woman claiming to be Emerald’s former therapist, who deepens the mystery by acknowledging Emerald’s existence but warning Campbell she’s no longer around and that he must let his pursuit go. “It’s not going to end well, Campbell,” she says. “For anyone.”
Laura scores again with solid writing, excellent pacing, and a deft directoral hand. The performances of the entire cast are precise and played to perfection–emotional, yet guarded, taking the viewer on a ride with the pendulum, leaving reason to question whether or not Emerald is, in fact, real.
In the end, this preview accomplishes exactly what it needs to. We want to know more. We want to learn whether Emerald is real and in trouble, or if Campbell’s need for her to be real outweighs the truth he’s buried.